Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Blossoming OBSESSION with Edible Gardening

Garden Fresh Zucchini from my Beautiful Edible Raised Garden

Ok, as many of you know, I have always been a passionate flower gardener, and plan to remain so--but this year I won the grand prize raffle at the annual Ross Valley Garden Tour, which was a custom raised edible garden bed designed and planted by Terra Firma Landscape Architecture and Fine Gardening.  Real estate in my small backyard is very precious and I really never wanted to sacrifice the valuable space for growing vegetables--especially when my boys and husband aren't huge fans. So each year, I considered  growing edibles, but never did.  As fate would have it, this year I was the lucky winner and was destine to try to grow vegetables in my new raised bed. Unfortunately it was built and planted during the hot snap in late June, and I was not confident that these new and unfamilar vegetable seedlings would endure the untimely heat wave, and mature to produce something I can actually eat; let alone be beautiful feature in my flower garden.

Bell Pepper Blossoms

Of course the raised bed's flowers including cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias--planted to help with pollination and insects control--were the first to mature: robust and abundant in their blooms. Funny, how easily I can grow flowers, while my new vegetable seedling seemed to be struggling against the continued consuming heat, and then followed by an unusually cool late July for the Bay Area.  When our weather finally stabilized and warmed up in late July,  each vegetable plant became abundant with blossoms and began to offer their fruit in August. I was as captivated with their development, as I am with my most precious heirloom flowers-- and now am newly obsessed with my new endeavor of growing edibles and integrating them into my abundant flower garden.

Zucchini Blossom

Many of vegetables in my new edible garden are equally as beautiful in their form and blossoms, as some my favorite flowers that I grow. I don't have tons of space for rows and rows of crops, but have learned that edibles can be artfully incorporated into the design of my garden and produce a good amount of vegetables to feed my family and share with a few neighbors.  The Beautiful Edible Garden by Leslie Bennette (a new garden blogger friend) and Stefani Bittner is a complete inspiration and guide for integrating edibles into your garden and designing stylish outdoor spaces that are both productive and beautiful.
Beautiful Combination of flowers and vegetables!
I encourage you to read it if you are at all interested in embarking on this new edible gardening adventure. The book guides you in creating new visual interest in color and texture in your garden while at the same time providing insight in to the art of growing and maintaining vegetables. I love my garden fresh vegetables, and have already planted artichokes and pumpkins in the boarders of my front yard! You can bet, that I will soon be incorporating them into many of my artful flower arrangements in the coming weeks.